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The Real Problem with Job Interviews: Confidence

Job interviews can cause a variety of problems. The worst problem of all is promoting overconfidence.

There is a huge difference between:

  • Being confident in a decision (because you know the likely outcome)
  • Feeling confident about a decision

Job interviews make us feel more confident.

Confidence in job interviews can be a good thing. After all, how would you feel about hiring someone you’ve never even met?

The problem is that misplaced confidence can undermine the entire job interview process. And when it happens, you’re less likely to select the best candidates.

Overconfidence undermines hiring decisions

People often rely on feeling confident more than on being confident.

In fact, a recent series of studies found that they tend to move in opposite directions. When hiring professionals were given basic assessment data to make decisions, they usually picked the best candidates (around 70% of the time).

When they were given assessment data AND the results of an unstructured interview, it made them significantly more confident in their decisions. But they also picked the best candidates significantly less often (around 60% of the time).

Overconfidence in job interviews undermines the motivation to improve

Job interviews make people feel confident that they’re making the right decisions.

If you already feel confident that you can make the right decisions with your standard interviews, why bother with anything else?

This doesn’t match up with reality.

We know that hiring programs hugely benefit from established best practices, such as structuring interviews, avoiding common biases, and automating the routine and tedious aspects.

These best practices aren’t used nearly as often as you might expect, given their potential value.

Data can overcome overconfidence in job interviews

Collect hiring data. Collect performance data. Look at the data.

Are you really doing as well as you think?

The results can be quite sobering. But they can also promote change for the better.